Konnichiwa! Japan, A land of ancient traditions and modern technology. Where the past meets present in a seamless fusion of culture and innovation. In this travel blog post, I will take you on a journey to some of the most beautiful and fascinating places in Japan, including Mount Fuji, Kumano Kodo, Ama Hut, and a stay in a temple. All perfect for your Japanese study trip!
Mount Fuji is one of Japan’s most iconic landmarks and is a must do on any trip to Japan. It is an active volcano that stands at a height of 3,776 metres and is the highest mountain in Japan. It was registered as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 2013.
If you want to climb the mountain, you will have to plan your trip dates carefully. The official climbing season is only from early July to mid-September.
During my time in Japan I spent 1 night in the mountain lodges, and made my way all the way to the peak by early the next morning. Unfortunately for me I wasn’t there quite early enough to watch the sunrise, but if you are lucky enough, the views are some of the best in the world.
Kumano Kodo is a network of ancient pilgrimage trails that connect the sacred sites of Kumano.
The Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes have been used for over 1,000 years by emperors, samurai, and commoners alike.
The trails take you through dense forests, across mountain passes, and past numerous shrines and temples. You can choose to hike the entire route, or you can select a shorter route that takes you to some of the most beautiful and important sites along the way.
Ama Hut is a small fishing village located in Mie Prefecture, Japan. It is home to a community of female free divers who harvest pearls, seaweed and other marine products.
During my stay I learnt more about their history and culture of diving, and was even given the opportunity to try it out myself.
The Ama divers showed me how to harvest seaweed and sea urchins, and afterwards we were treated to an incredible seafood feast. The food was some of the freshest that I have even eaten, and is a must for any seafood lover.
My trip to Ama Hut was a real once in a lifetime opportunity, and my top recommendation to anyone travelling in Japan. The Ama divers were incredibly welcoming and generous with their time and knowledge, and I am incredibly grateful that I got the chance to immerse myself in their culture.
Temple lodging allows visitors the unique ability to stay overnight in a Buddhist temple. Open to practitioners and non-practitioners alike, staying in a temple offers an excellent chance to experience the austere lifestyle of Buddhist monks.
During my stay I was invited to watch and participate in morning prayer. Some temples may offer you to join in, whilst others just to observe.
There are a number of temples throughout Japan, and bookings should typically be made in advance and made directly to the temple by phone, fax or email.
General travel guide
There is never a bad time to embark on a Japanese study trip. There’s always something different and unique to see and visit in every season.
My top tip would be to pre-book dinners as part of your tour package. If you cannot make it, cancel your bookings. Japanese hosts love to show hospitality and therefore find it disrespectful when people show up to restaurants and they feel unprepared and not able to give you the best hospitality and services.
Besides that, here are some other top tips that I found useful when travelling in Japan:
Learn some basic Japanese phrases – It’s always a good idea to learn a few basic phrases, such as
Hello – Kon’nichiwa
Thank you – Arigatō
Excuse me – Sumimasen
Purchase a Japan Rail Pass – If you plan to travel around Japan, a Japan Rail Pass can save you a lot of money. Students love experiencing the superfast trains in Japan, and a Bullet train journey should feature on every itinerary. Diversity Study Trips can include this in your tour package.
Carry cash – While credit cards are accepted in many places, it’s always a good idea to carry cash. If you are planning on staying at a temple during your visit, many only accept cash.
Respect local customs – Japan has a unique culture. It’s essential to respect local customs, such as removing your shoes when entering someone’s home or a temple.
Try new foods – Japanese cuisine is delicious and varied. Don’t be afraid to try new foods, such as sushi, ramen, and tempura.
For more inspiration on your Japanese study trip, be sure to check out our blog on some other top destinations to visit in the country here
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- Claire Ho, Trip ExpertBack